The Colorado Times Recorder is reporting that D-51 School Board President Andrea Haitz and D-51 Board Member Angela Lema attended a seminar at a Grand Junction hotel on August 26 called “Save Our Schools,” put on by Heritage Action for America, an affiliate of the right wing Heritage Foundation. The seminar taught people how to fight equity and inclusion policies in schools and provided resources to help them.
Speaking to an audience at the Cornerstone Christian Center in Basalt on June 26, 2022 — two days before the primary election — House Rep. Lauren Boebert called for America to become a theocracy, a system of government in which the church directs the government.
Strutting back and forth across the stage like a televangelist, Boebert told the audience,
“The church is supposed to direct the government. The government is not supposed to direct the church. That is not how our founding fathers intended it. And I’m tired of this separation of church and state junk. That’s not the Constitution. It was in a stinking letter and it means nothing like what they say.”
After the uproar over anti-transgender memes District 51 School Board President Andrea Haitz posted recently on her personal social media accounts, the First Congregational Church at 5th and Kennedy in Grand Junction took steps to make it clear to the public that their church welcomes transexual kids. The church is directly across the street from Grand Junction High School.
Church Administrator Beth Rakestraw said on her social media account that “Transkids are loved and welcomed at my church!” The church describes itself on its website as a “progressive Christian community” and says “We welcome all people regardless of race, age, gender, sexual orientation, gender preference, ability, and disability…At our church you don’t have to check your brain at the door. We believe that science and religion are not mutually exclusive. … No matter who you are, or where you are on life’s journey, you’re welcome here.”
Haitz tried to walk back her posts by telling the Daily Sentinel that people had “misinterpreted” her memes because they “don’t understand satire,” but that was disproved after Heidi Hess of One Colorado revealed to the Daily Sentinel that Haitz belonged to the Facebook group Reboot 2022, whose mission statement says “Transgender is not an option.”
In her own defense, Haitz told the Sentinel she didn’t mean the memes to be hurtful, and that she “has gay and lesbian friends.” Haitz said the “memes had been misunderstood” because “people don’t always understand satire,” and said that people “made up what they thought I meant by it.”
But people didn’t make up anything, and they most definitely did not misinterpret the intent of Haitz’s posts.
How do we know?
Updated 3/30/22 @ 10:10 a.m.
The Mesa County Republican Party has reached a whole new level of crazy in 2022, as indicated by a handout at their assembly at the DoubleTree hotel last Saturday, March 26, that lists the party’s recommendations for the statewide GOP platform. The local party will vote on which of these resolutions to forward to the state party for inclusion in the statewide platform.
According to the handout, some Mesa County Republicans now want to register and regulate journalists “to protect against the Marxist agenda.” They support “private ownership of AR-15s, 30-round magazines and semi-automatic weapons,” firearms described by CNN Money as “the mass shooters’ go-to weapon.” Local Republicans also support “making Ivermectin an over-the-counter (OTC) drug.” Ivermectin is an anti-parasitic drug commonly used as a horse-dewormer and in dogs to prevent heartworm.
On February 11, 2022, the same day she was officially arrested and booked on charges of obstruction, Mesa County Clerk Tina Peters appeared as a speaker at an “Emergency Town Hall” event held by the right wing extremist group Faith, Education, Commerce United in Castle Rock, Colorado.
During the Q &A, a member of the audience asks Peters:
“I’d like to hear from Tina. Would you bring us up to speed on all this? I read in the paper … I don’t get it, I mean I sort of get it, but the whole thing .. They walk into a restaurant, they arrest you and then they let you go. I don’t get it. Could you give us a nice little synopsis here? What started this in the first place?”
Tina responds by saying in part,
“So I did not go out on a fishing expedition, I did not go out to, you know, find something to prove that Trump won. It was very obvious, I think, to everybody. But when I saw the City Council election, I said ‘there’s no way, there is NO WAY that these people won in our town.'”
Matt Crane, the Executive Director of the Colorado County Clerks Association, who is a Republican, responded to this statement by Tina Peters by saying:
“Stand for the Constitution,” (SFTC) a Mesa County group that claims to defend the rights enshrined in the U.S. Constitution and the integrity of local elections, has started blocking critics and deleting comments it doesn’t like from its public Facebook page while defending the only person in Mesa County who has ever publicly refused to count hundreds of legitimately-cast ballots: Mesa County Clerk Tina Peters.
The First Amendment of the Constitution makes it illegal for government to enact laws restricting freedom of speech and expression. Stand for the Constitution is a private group, not a government entity, so it has every right to block people from its social media pages. But despite claims that it exists to promote freedoms enshrined in the Constitution, SFTC blocks speech they do not want to acknowledge.
On November 21, 2021, the Daily Sentinel published an article titled “Ficklin denies anti-Semitic leanings,” that examined statements and outrageous, unfounded claims made by Republican Colorado House Representative District 55 candidate Cindy Ficklin in her social media posts.
Ficklin’s writings included anti-semitic tropes about prominent Jews being “monsters in the shadows” who “control all the banks in the world.”
Colorado Republican House Rep. Lauren Boebert, has been lobbing homophobic comments at U.S. Secretary of Transportation Pete Butigieg at fundraisers, on television shows, and in a YouTube video of her own making that she calls “Bullet Points.”
Boebert berated Butigieg, the first openly gay person ever appointed to a cabinet-level position in the federal government, for taking parental leave to help care for his and his partners’ prematurely-born adopted twin babies.
While speaking at a campaign event in Pueblo on Saturday, November 20, during Congress’ Thanksgiving break, Republican CO House Rep. Lauren Boebert made a bigoted, anti-Muslim joke at the expense of her Muslim colleague, Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN), intimating Omar could be a suicide bomber if she was wearing a backpack.
Boebert told the crowd she had just entered an elevator at the Capitol when a Capitol Police security guard came running just up as the doors were closing. Boebert said she turned and saw Omar and said to the guard, “Well, she doesn’t have a backpack. We should be fine.”
The three far-right wing candidates for District 51 School Board backed by the extremist group “Stand for the Constitution” — Angela Lema, Willie Jones and Andrea Haitz — together sent out a fundraising email today, titled “It’s Time to Get Politics Out of the Classroom,” aimed at generating anger towards the U.S. Department of Justice to raise money to help get them onto the school board.
The email’s subject line screams:
“The DOJ is coming after parents!”
Grand Junction’s undercurrent of hatred showed itself again this week after several City residents reported they’ve gotten anonymous racist hate mail that they think was prompted, at least in part, by signs in their front yards indicating support of social equity, inclusion and justice.
A bi-racial downtown resident reports having gotten a total of nine racist hate letters so far, saying they have been coming steadily, approximately monthly, for about a year now, starting in 2020.
A Redlands Village resident got the following racist poem in the mail, authored by a “A. Wyatt Mann,” a pen name used by an American filmmaker named Nick Bougas, who produced racist, homophobic and anti-semitic material under the pseudonym. She also got a “Fuck Biden and fuck you if you voted for him” note, also posted below:
Kristin Wynn of Citizens for Clean Air Grand Junction reported that her group has not received responses to questionnaires they sent to City Council candidates Mark McCallister, Kraig Andrews, Jody Green, and Greg Haitz. Nor did any of these candidates bother to respond to a short questionnaire from the Outdoor Recreation Coalition of the Grand Valley and none of them participated in the City Council Candidate Forums organized by the Western Colorado Alliance, which were held virtually on Zoom.
So why are these four candidates dodging public forums and refusing to answer City residents’ questions? And what do they all have in common that the other four candidates don’t?
For one thing, they are all endorsed by the local right-wing extremist group “Stand for the Constitution,” who calls the slate of them “our candidates.”
Grand Junction’s “Inclusivity Proclamation” notwithstanding, there is plenty of hate and racism in Grand Junction. The above represents a small fraction of the 35 to 40 hate-filled memes and cartoons someone took the time to copy, cut out and mail us in an anonymous snail mail letter, received on Tuesday, 9/22/20. The rest were similar, many were worse, and many focused on Trump worship, denigrating Hillary Clinton, Barack Obama, liberals, non-white people, etc.
Graffiti of a swastika was found yesterday, October 10, on the section of the Riverfront Trail just west of High Country Court in Grand Junction. The symbol is an emblem of far-right nationalist movements and is used by Nazis and neo-Nazis. It is widely considered a symbol of hate. The image was about 2 ft. by 2 ft. in yellow spray paint and was found on the Jewish holiday of Yom Kippur, the day of atonement that follows shortly after the Jewish new year of Rosh Hashana. The graffiti was reported to the City, who passed information about it to the Parks Department, which is in charge of maintaining the Riverfront Trail.
For more documentation of the hate culturein Grand Junction, search on the term “hate” in the search box located to the upper right side of this post.
Full disclosure: I was the plaintiff in the lawsuit that the American Civil Liberties Union of Colorado brought against State Senator Ray Scott for blocking constituents from his official social media accounts.
On August 31, 2019 the Daily Sentinel printed an article about the settlement we reached in the case.
Had the Sentinel contacted me for this article, I would have let them know that Ray Scott lied to them about several specific pieces of information regarding the case.
Ray Scott’s first lie:
Scott told the Sentinel that he blocked people from his social media accounts “only if someone posted a profane or inappropriate comment.”
That is absolutely false.
Janet Rowland is running for Mesa County Commissioner.
She’s already been a Mesa County Commissioner — from January, 2005 to January, 2013 — but that doesn’t mean her being commissioner again is a good idea. It arguably is not a good idea. From her previous two terms, we have an abundance of experience with her and know what is in store if Janet Rowland gets another chance to be Commissioner.
So let’s take a look at the past and see what it tells us.
Morally and ethically challenged
Certainly Janet has done some good things through her career, like trying to address child abuse and finding homes for foster kids. While those endeavors are laudable, we also need to take into account all the things she’s done that have set a poor example for kids, and our entire community and that have harmed the County.
Shortly after losing statewide election for lieutenant governor as Bob Beauprez’s running mate in 2006, and while she was previously Mesa County Commissioner, Janet was a guest columnist for the Grand Junction Free Press, at the time a competing newspaper to the Daily Sentinel. She wrote several articles for the Free Press until one day a sharp reader noticed Janet had lifted most of one of her columns word for word from a government-published pamphlet, and brought this information to the attention of the Free Press’s editor.
The Daily Sentinel reported on Rowland’s plagiarism on February 3, 2007:
A Mesa County official has plagiarized a government substance abuse booklet in her two most recent columns in the Grand Junction Free Press, that newspaper’s editor confirmed Friday.
The majority of Mesa County Commissioner Janet Rowland’s Feb. 1 column in the Free Press, titled “The importance of a strong parent-child bond,” was lifted verbatim from a 2006 National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism publication titled, “Making a Difference: Talk to Your Teen About Alcohol.”
A reading of Rowland’s unattributed column and the text of the booklet revealed the two are virtually identical. The only differences were found in the column’s first sentence and its lead into several bullet points.
The editor said if Rowland had been a staff writer, she probably would have been fired.
Janet’s first reaction to the plagiarism charge was to claim she couldn’t even remember writing the columns. (Denial.) When that failed to tamp down the controversy, she next said the information she used in her columns had been intended for “mass duplication anyhow,” adding that if people wanted to make what she did out as something evil, that was THEIR prerogative. (Sour grapes.) Next, she blamed the plagiarism on others, saying she had included the necessary attributions in her column, but Free Press staff had edited them out. (Lying and blaming.) Free Press management quickly produced the emails that contained the articles exactly as they had received them from Janet for publication, showing that they contained no references or attributions.
Are you a teacher looking for ways to teach kids how to tell the difference between real and “fake” news, how to determine whether an online source is legitimate, reliable and fair, and how to engage in social media discussions responsibly? Are you looking for ways to help kids negotiate topics in the news, like immigration, civil rights, race and gender identity?
Well, here’s your answer.
The Southern Poverty Law Center now offers free Common Core-compatible classroom materials and resources that can help kids discern malicious online fare like propaganda deployed by hate groups to recruit new members, false conspiracy theories and racist lies. It will also help kids become more sophisticated consumers of news and social media and navigate topics like race and ethnicity, religion, variations in ability, immigration, class, bullying and bias, gender and sexual identity and rights and activism.
And did we mention it’s all free?
SPLC’s, program, “Teaching Tolerance,” includes K-12 lesson plans that align with Common Core standards and offers professional development tools that will help teachers increase their own online savvy. Teachers can access a multitude of resources, like lessons for different grade levels, student tasks, lesson plans, teaching strategies for different grade levels, film kits, printable posters and other classroom materials, and they are all available at no cost by visiting Tolerance.org.